Historic Timber Springs To Life Via Facebook Group

One of the greatest things that the Facebook phenomenon has created is a place to gather people around a common cause.  It has been my experience through 35 years of community leadership that people will rally around a good cause.  Facebook may have led to a number of problems in our society, this is an undeniable truth.  Having said that it is unequaled as a social connector, especially when being used for a good purpose.

My Father in law, Ron Johnson, was born and raised on the Colville Indian Reservation in the upper reaches of the Columbia River in Eastern Washington which provided him a unique experience,  which will make a book someday no doubt.  After the family came to Oregon they ended up in the mighty little town of Timber, Oregon and were railroad people.  It has been my great pleasure as a Historian to listen to Ron tell stories of an epic life as a boy in the ancient forest, bustling railways, and wild Nehalem and Salmonberry River country that surround and envelop Timber.  These stories, which I have heard for 35 years now, finally got me to slow down and take Ron to the Washington County Museum in search of photographs.  This most recent occurrence has been spurned on by the fact that we have been unable to unearth much of anything on Timber, Oregon on the Internet.

Off we went in late December (2017) to find out what they had.  With the help of Liza Schade at the museum, we retrieved a few good photos which were food for much discussion and the source of a happy day!  Here is a link to those photos we found. 

That was great but the more we talked the more I decided it might be time to see if anyone else had photos or memories to share and what better format than Facebook?  There are many sites dedicated to places and history that have worked.  My own work on Facebook groups includes 20 different topics with We Remember Hillsboro, Oregon and Orenco Life being among them which have enjoyed some success.  

Three weeks ago we started We Remember Timber, Oregon on facebook.  Click that link to join us!  In 4 weeks 401 people have joined, and when you consider the fact that nothing existed like this for Timber that is quite a feat.  What is even more amazing is that not only a few, but hundreds of pictures and posts have been posted in the past 4 weeks.  More photos were collected in 1 day than the Historical Museum had.  More information has been gathered in the past 4 weeks than was available on the vast universe we call the World Wide Web.  It is extraordinary what is happening.

Even better yet there are place for a We Remember Timber picnic this August and neighbors are asking each other questions and for help identifying some facts about their lands and homes as well as their past.  The entire result has been intoxcating and wonderful and it appears this will continue well into the future.  No doubt a book and collection of all of the photos and stories could be in the works and a very real potential.

For Ron this has been healing as he looks back at this past and makes an adjustment after dealing with his wife and our Matriach, Joyce Lane Johnson.  Ron is active in the group and has many accurate stories to fill in the blanks that the pictures do not tell.  The other side of the coin has been equally true by the photos filling in his memories.  Clearly the little town that used to boast the biggest logging camps in the Pacific NW has many tales to tell and many stories yet to be unearthed.  The Facebook group was the start of the fuse that has blasted forth the like the powder kegs used to build the railroad to the Coast known as the Punk, Rotten, and Nasty!

The point of all of this is that Facebook acted as the vehicle through which Hsitory is being reborn and retold.  It is the goal of this author and this site to do the same and to catalogue all the many sites and groups bringing the Tualatin Valley region back to life from a historical perspective.

The work continues!

A 2018 mid winter view of the cochran pond west of Timber, oregon

A 2018 mid winter view of the cochran pond west of Timber, oregon